Saturday, June 6, 2009

The New Table Saw

Ok, it is not a table saw - it is almost exactly not like a table saw. What I mean by the title is that this machine is becoming so familiar to us that it is occupying the same place in our existence as the table saw.

We purchased the ShopBot primarily for it's capabilities, not for speeding up production. We create many one-of-a-kinds, not too many multiples. Here are a couple of examples of how this machine is changing the way we do things in our shop:

Here we were making a frame for a prototype of a section of curved wall covered in perforated steel. We had to test a particularly heavy mount of a triceratops jaw before went to the real thing. A few months ago we would have designed the profile, made a template, traced out our multiples and cut out the units with a sabre saw. No more! AutoCAD>PartsWorks>ShopBot and walk away. (Note the placement of the screws for holding down the material - plans are in the works to eliminate these with a vacuum clamp)

Deceptively simple, except this was a panel to fit into the interior of an existing case. I closely measured the lengths of the sides and the diagonals by overlapping steel rules. Using that data to construct intersecting circles, I recreated the profile in CAD. Fits like a glove.
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